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Sparkle Girl

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"A 'garbage noise duet' and 'cultural terrorist affinity group,' Sparkle Girl is a decidedly nonacademic, antihegemonic sonic circus of resentment. Sparkle Girl makes few concessions to taste, talent, quality, or other such mystical abstractions." So declares the manifesto included in Alterity 101, one of 6,000 handmade recordings on cassette, CD, MP3, and reel to reel released by Sparkle Girl under their own name and other monikers since the mid-1990s.

The music matches the manifesto. Sparkle Girl—the duo of Kurt Delaney and Jim Evans with occasional collaborators—range from sound collages and defiantly lo-fi field recordings to "loose compositions" and hardcore electronics. Last May, they dedicated their set at the Baltic Room's late, lamented No Tomorrow series to Dee Snider of '80s hair band Twisted Sister. "Once I met Dee Snider," announced Delaney, "and he told me that an artist without a public is an artist without talent."

Acting as a self-appointed doppelgänger to corporate music companies, Sparkle Girl find their own public through guerrilla distribution; most Sparkle Girl releases get passed out for free at protests, concerts, and "live actions." Perusing my own small stack, I see that every release is packaged differently (sleeves, envelopes, old-school jewel cases, pasteboard collages) in variously numbered editions of 1, 6, 10, 20, 44, 59, 64, and 227 copies.

Are Sparkle Girl good? I should say yes, though Sparkle Girl probably prefer the quote from French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu inserted in their CD Asymptote: "Taste classifies and it classifies the classifier. Social subjects, classified by their classifications, distinguish themselves by the distinctions they make between the beautiful and the ugly, the distinguished and the vulgar, in which their position in the objective classifications is expressed or betrayed."

Catch the Sparkle Girl Sextet, Novahead vs. ChickenTron, and others on Wed April 25 at Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave N, 374-8400, 9:30 pm, $5.

Concerts

THURSDAY APRIL 19

DARK DIVAS
Singers Kibibi Monie, Lakema Bell, and Azani Tate serve up a revue of songs made famous by Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave, 684-7171, noon—1 pm, free.

HARSH
I'm amazed the Re-bar's burly PA withstands the onslaught of harsh noise, breakcore, death industrial, and other sonically aggressive musics heard at this monthly series. With nkondi, blipcore maven XISIX, Penetration Camp, and others, including DJ NAHA, whose ultradistorted breakbeats creased my skull at the first HARSH in March. Bring earplugs. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873,10 pm, $5.

FRIDAY APRIL 20

KAREN SHIVERS
Shivers brings a gospel-inflected sass to jazz standards. As part of Pony Boy Records' "Jazz & Sushi" series, she leads a quartet that features pianist Bill Anschell, whose recent disc, More to the Ear than Meets the Eye (Origin) remains one of my favorite releases this year. Hiroshi's Restaurant, 2501 Eastlake Ave E, 726-4966, 7:30—10 pm, free.

SHORT CIRCUITS
The seldom-seen atlatl returns to explore the inner workings of voltage-controlled vacuum tube electronics and modular synthesizers. Famed for his 1998 album All You Fuckers Without Radar (cloaca), atlatl's minimal analog sounds stutter, lumber, and careen through a maze of vintage machines. Two duos round out the bill: Elevator Bath's Colin Andrew Sheffield duets with turntable saboteur James Eck Rippie; yours truly reunites with Austin-based sound artist Alex Keller as rebreather, battling cracked electronics and spewing digital glossolalia. Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding scale donation.

ONG ONG
One of the few zines that successfully couples exploratory writing with a worthwhile music CD, Ong Ong has corralled "three L.A. bands, two projectors, and one potluck" for a benefit. With witty circuit-benders Eats Tapes, the Powdered Wigs, whose blinking MySpace page actually augments the marvelously juddering synth piece "Together," and the electroacoustic project Lucky Dragons. I'm unfamiliar with the fourth name on the bill, the Slide Rule; they wield "personal digital players," which I presume are iPods or el-cheapo digital voice recorders. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding scale donation.

SUNDAY APRIL 22

SEATTLE CHAMBER PLAYERS
Postponing its program of fierce Italian modernists (Berio, Maderna, Sciarrino), the SCP instead offers up Zhou Long's Taiping Drum for violin and piano, "Memo" for violin and portable cassette recorder by Michel Van der Aa, and more. Kerry Hall at Cornish College, 710 E Roy St, 325-6500, 7 pm, $18/$20.

NETHERLANDS BACH SOCIETY
The Early Music Guild has imported this world-class (and oft-recorded) group to perform one of the great works of Western civilization, J. S. Bach's Mass in B minor. Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 325-7066, 8 pm, $20-$38.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 25

PRICE & GROLLMAN
This engaging avant rock guitar and drums duo ranges from squalling assaults to quietly subdued soundscapes. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding scale donation.

 

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